Start in the right place

By Replant

In beginning the process of restoring health and vitality to a church one of the first questions Pastors ask is: “Where should I begin?”

You could begin anywhere; the needs are likely great. How do you determine what to address and where to focus your energy? Consider focusing on the following:

Spiritual Health:thriving churches don’t need fantastic facilities, great bulletins, incredible worship bands, mind blowing multi-media and fair trade coffee to grow. Congregational decline can be traced to a loss of spiritual passion, which can be traced to lack of spiritual devotion, which can be traced to a lack of keeping Jesus as the center. Begin addressing the spiritual condition in the hearts of the men, women and children—lead them back to Jesus first. Pray and wait for the empowering of the Holy Spirit. It will feel like slow going at first—but it is the most important place to begin.

Setting Culture: every church has a personality, culture and reputation. A church long in decline will have a defined culture that will take time to understand, uproot and reshape. Some aspects of the culture will be worth keeping, others will not. Keep the good, create the new and frequently cast vision for who God is calling you to become as a body.

Strategy/Structure/Systems: typically most efforts begin here. Honestly, this is the easiest place to begin. Strategies can be easily composed, structure can be changed—even if it causes conflict and systems can be improved or imported. Ensure that your strategy, structure and systems support the priority of spiritual health and foster the culture you believe God is calling you to create. Anything less is managing the deck chairs on a ship still in danger of sinking.

You have to begin somewhere begin in the right place and in the right way.

Published February 9, 2015

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The Replant team of the North American Mission Board works to reverse the death and decline rate of Churches. For more information and resources on Replanting go to and follow @churchreplanter.